October 9, 2012

T20 hundreds from low down, and doing well in defeat

Also: Tennyson's Test-playing relation, India-Pakistan World Cup stats, and playing without bails and stumps

I was at Hove in July when Scott Styris smashed a T20 hundred for Essex from No. 5. Is this the lowest in the batting order that anyone has made a century in a T20 game? asked Martin Smythe from Brighton
That hundred by the New Zealander Scott Styris for Sussex against Gloucestershire in July - which took him only 37 balls in 37 minutes - was actually the fourth century made from No. 5 in the batting order in a senior T20 match. Two of them came earlier this year: Rajat Bhatia made 107 not out for Delhi against Railways in Mumbai in March, while James Hildreth made the same score for Somerset against Glamorgan in Taunton in June. The first T20 century from No. 5 was by Yusuf Pathan, whose 37-ball 100 for Rajasthan Royals against Mumbai Indians in the IPL was in March 2010. However, they all have to give best to Middlesex's Dawid Malan, who hit 103 from 54 balls after going in at No. 6 against Lancashire in a Twenty20 Cup quarter-final at The Oval in July 2008.

Has the Man-of-the-Match award in a T20 international ever gone to a member of the losing team? asked Dr Nick Meakin from the UK
I thought there would be quite a few, but actually there have only been seven as I write. The best all-round performance among them was by Australia's Shane Watson, who hit 59 and then took 4 for 15 from his four overs in Adelaide in January 2011 - but England still won, off the last ball of the match. The first man to suffer this fate was Chris Gayle, who slammed 117 for West Indies against South Africa in Johannesburg in the first match of the inaugural World Twenty20 in September 2007... but the home side still ran out easy winners, by eight wickets with 14 balls to spare. Later in that tournament Junaid Siddique scored 71 on his debut in the format for Bangladesh, in Cape Town, but Pakistan still prevailed. Paul Collingwood made 79 in vain for England against West Indies at The Oval in June 2007; Abdur Razzak took 4 for 16 for Bangladesh against South Africa in Johannesburg in November 2008, but his side fell 12 runs short; David Hussey's 88 not out from 44 balls couldn't help Australia beat South Africa in Johannesburg in March 2009; and Kenya's slow left-armer Shem Ngoche took 4 for 14 as Ireland were restricted to 107 in Mombasa in February 2012... but Kenya managed only 105 (Ngoche needed three runs from the last ball but missed it).

Which England Test player was the grandson of a Poet Laureate? asked James Bell from London
The man concerned was The Honourable Lionel Tennyson, who played nine Tests between 1913-14 and 1921, and was also a popular and inspirational captain of Hampshire. He made a defiant 74 not out against Australia at Lord's in 1921, and in the next Test - having taken over the captaincy - hit 63 and 36 despite batting virtually one-handed after injuring himself while fielding. Wisden says of his first innings: "Tennyson, despite his bad hand, did wonders, seizing every chance and hitting so hard that he scored 50 in an hour." He succeeded as Lord Tennyson in 1928, and died in 1951. His grandfather Alfred, Lord Tennyson, whose most famous works include "The Charge of the Light Brigade" and "The Lady of Shalott", succeeded William Wordsworth as Britain's Poet Laureate in 1850, and continued through much of Queen Victoria's reign, until his own death in 1892.

Is it true that India have never lost to Pakistan in the World Cup? asked Seena John from Sri Lanka
It is true: India and Pakistan have met on five occasions in World Cup matches, and India have won each time. None of the matches has been particularly close, either, the narrowest margin being 29 runs in Mohali in last year's semi-final. The other meetings have resulted in Indian wins by 43 runs in Sydney (1992), 39 runs in Bangalore (1996 quarter-final), 47 runs at Old Trafford (1999), and six wickets in Centurion (2003). India have also won all their matches against Pakistan in the World Twenty20. They triumphed by eight wickets in Colombo recently, and by five runs in the final in Johannesburg in 2006-07. The group meeting between the two sides earlier in that inaugural tournament was tied, each side scoring 141 - but even then India won after a bowl-out.

I remember a one-day match in Sri Lanka, at Dambulla, when the match was played without bails on the stumps as it was very windy (even the umpires didn't wear hats!). What happens with run-outs and similar in this case, as the usual Law says the batsman is out only when the bails are dislodged? asked Rahul Kulkarni from India
I think the match you're talking about was one between Sri Lanka and Pakistan in Dambulla in May 2003, in a triangular series also involving New Zealand (the eventual winners) for the Bank Alfalah Cup. Wisden's account of the match, which Sri Lanka won by 12 runs, states: "Strong winds forced the umpires to dispense with the bails from the 12th over, but could not excuse Pakistan conceding 14 no-balls and 12 wides." What happens when bails can't be used is that, in accordance with Law 28, "the decision as to whether the wicket has been put down is for the umpire concerned to decide".

Regarding last week's question about the Middlesex side that contained 11 Test players, I'm curious to know how they got on - were they invincible? asked Arsalan Mujahid Ghouri from Malaysia
Rather surprisingly, perhaps, they weren't: Middlesex had won the County Championship in 1980, and would do so again in 1982, but in 1981 - when they fielded an XI entirely made up of Test players in several matches - they could finish only fourth in the table (Nottinghamshire won that year). Jeff Thomson ran into injury problems and made only six Championship appearances, which didn't help: in 1980, Vintcent van der Bijl, who missed out on a long Test career as South Africa weren't allowed to play at the time, had taken 85 wickets (at an average of less than 15) as the title was won.

Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2012. Ask Steven is now on Facebook